Conagra continues to ride eating-at-home wave


By Keith Nunes, Food Business News



CHICAGO – Conagra Brands, Inc. continues to benefit from consumers shopping at retail and eating at home. Sales of the company’s frozen, snack and center-store brands continued to rise during the second quarter of fiscal year ended Nov. 29, 2020.


“We continue to build on our momentum, and our Q2 results exceeded our expectations across the board,” said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer, during a Jan. 7 conference call with securities analysts to discuss the results.


Net income for the quarter rose 45% to $379 million.


Quarterly sales rose 6% to $2.995 billion from $2.82 billion the year prior.


“Total Conagra retail sales grew 10.4% year-over-year with strong growth across each of our snacks, frozen and staples portfolios,” Mr. Connolly said. “Total Conagra household penetration grew 14 basis points versus a year ago, and our category share increased 26 basis points.”


Sales for Conagra’s Grocery & Snacks business unit rose 13% during the quarter to $1.3 billion. The company attributed the increase to elevated levels of at-home eating and replenishment of retailer inventories. Segment operating profit increased 20% to $316 million.


Mr. Connolly emphasized that Conagra’s line of staple products, primarily products sold in the center of the store, include such brands as Hunt’s, Pam and Rotel, enjoyed another strong quarter.


“Historically, this portfolio has served as a source of cash for us, but it hasn’t been looked at as a growth engine,” he said. “Our basket of the total staples category grew retail sales by 12.7% in the second quarter. People are returning to their kitchens during the pandemic and new younger consumers are discovering the joy of cooking...